If you can't agree with the other party

How to get an interim family order

Before using these guides

What's an interim order?

An interim order is an order that'll stay in place until a final order is made at a trial or by consent (both parties agree). When both parties agree to the order, it's called a consent order. Sometimes an interim order is procedural to help keep the case moving, such as getting the other person to give certain information.

To read about the different kinds of court orders, see our fact sheet All about court orders.

Why get an interim order?

Sometimes people get interim orders to put arrangements in place while they work on a final agreement. Or people get an interim order during the one-year separation required to get a divorce. It can take a very long time — up to a year or even longer — to have a trial. This is because the courts are very busy and there are many time-consuming steps and procedures people must take to prepare for trials.

You can get an interim order from a judge (or master) in a much shorter time, using a less formal and less expensive process that can be done with only written evidence. An interim order can solve immediate problems, such as where the children will live and how they'll be supported. Meanwhile, you can work on finding final solutions. In some cases, this final solution is ordered by a judge at the end of a trial, but most often, people reach final solutions without going to trial.

Getting an interim order can also be time-consuming, unless your case is urgent. If you think your case is urgent, get legal advice as soon as possible.

Staying out of court

Before you start using these guides, think about your situation. Is it possible that you and the other person can agree about parenting arrangements, property, and/or child or spousal support?

If you can agree, you won't have to go to court and a judge or master won't make the decisions about these important personal issues for you. Instead, you can get a consent order.

Consider the following options that can help you and the other party to work things out:

For more information, see our fact sheet Making an agreement after you separate.

If you have a lawyer, discuss these options with him or her. If you can't afford a lawyer, there are other ways to get legal help, including legal aid, the Lawyer Referral Service, free (pro bono) legal clinics, family duty counsel, and family advice lawyers. See Who can help? for more information.

What does the law say about parenting and support?

For more information about what the law says about child or spousal support and parenting (including guardianship, parenting arrangements, and contact with a child), see our fact sheets on:

If you must go to court — Choose Provincial or Supreme Court

If you:

  • have tried to resolve your issues on your own and can't, or
  • have tried to resolve your issues with the help of a mediator or other service and can't, or
  • don't think it will be possible to resolve your issues,

you can apply for parenting or support orders in either the Provincial (Family) Court of British Columbia or the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

See our fact sheet Do you need to go to Provincial (Family) Court or Supreme Court? to find out which court would be best for your case. You can also read our fact sheet Which laws apply to your case? for more information about which court you should go to and which law(s) you can use to get your order.

Once you've decided which court is the right one for you, choose the appropriate link below to go to the self-help guide.

Important: If either party lives outside BC, you may not be able to use these guides. Contact a lawyer for advice and see our fact sheet What if one party lives outside BC? (interjurisdictional issues). See Who can help? to find a lawyer.